Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)

“Anyway, the lawyer said that he wanted to get the waiver signed tomorrow, so he can get his fee, and we can get our settlement,” Carl concludes.

“Sure, I’ve not got a job that I have to go to tomorrow. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be going to a job ever again. Especially when it’s as boring as being a legal professional drug dealer.”

“I’ll call Sid and let him know. We should meet at the lawyer’s office around 10 in the morning. I’ll see you then.”

“Bye,” Jen says.

Carl hangs up the phone. He picks it up again and dials Sid’s new number. It rings three times, and then is answered by a voice which does not resemble Sid’s, for it seems a bit too high pitched.

“Sid?” asks Carl.

“Yeah, it’s me,” responds Sid in a high pitched voice.

“What happened to your voice?”

“Someone on the floor was playing with a rather large tank of helium, and just happened to break the valve, and flooded the entire floor with helium. I opened a window, but that tank still isn’t empty,” speaks Sid, still in the high pitched voice.

Carl starts to laugh, but is able to suppress it enough to talk seriously to Sid.

“We’re going to meet at the lawyer’s tomorrow to sign those waivers for the airline so that we can get our settlement. We should be there by 10 in the morning. I can give you a ride.”

“What time are you coming by?” asks Sid, voice as high as ever.

“It’ll probably take half an hour to get to the lawyer’s, so about 9:30.”

“That sounds fine, I’ll be able to talk more to you tomorrow, I’m going to stick my head out the window for some real air, with less helium,” Sid says with his high helium voice.

“Right, see you then,” Sid hangs up the phone, and walks to the window of his new apartment, which is open all the way. He sticks out his head and can see for miles and miles, since it is a clear day and he has rather good vision, despite reading in the dark all of these years. The fact that he is on the 5th floor of his new apartment complex also helps him to see things father away, since there are less trees that would be blocking his view.

He breathes deeply several times. He grows rather dizzy after taking several deep breaths, but he holds firmly onto the window sill for support. He tries speaking again, and his voice has returned to normal. He decides to walk down the hall to see if the helium tank is still leaking. When he arrives at the neighbor’s door, he knocks four times. A man opens the door, and Sid addresses him. The man responds in an unnaturally high voice. The man seems rather jovial, probably from the lack of oxygen received by his brain due to his lungs filling with a rather high content of helium.